There’s nothing like a rule change in the world of family law and divorce proceedings to get me excited. What divorce procedure rules could change this time, I ask myself? Could it be the binning of the wilfully old-fashioned and plain stupid requirement for one spouse to put all the blame for the breakdown of the marriage on the other spouse before a divorce can be granted? Sadly no. This Government, like the others before it, has no backbone.
The tinkering is all about making the language of law a bit clearer. One (apparently minor) change is a further assault upon the Latin words that lawyers (but mostly, clients) still love to use. There shall be no more mention of the word AFFIDAVIT. Absolutely verboten. Forget you ever used it and call it a Statement instead. This means that clients will no longer be SWORN to their affidavits but rather VERIFY their statements of truth.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m a modern kind of guy. I can make my own sandwiches, iron my shirts and think it’s perfectly proper for grown men to cry (under certain, rigidly defined circumstances). But what is wrong with Affidavit? It rolls off the tongue nicely, especially after a few practice sessions; it sounds vaguely grand, dustily majestic and quite deserving of the gravitas associated with being SWORN to it. But no, it has now gone the way of the Dodo. My clients don’t want statements of truth, they want the full monty AFFIDAVIT. It is a serious process and they want to be seen taking it seriously. A statement of truth is the cheap, shiny toilet paper painfully encountered in your local park’s public loos. An AFFIDAVIT is a plump roll of three-ply cushioned velvet found in the Ritz cloakrooms.
I feel much better now that I’ve got that off my chest. When I calm down fully, I will deal with the changes brought about which have some relevance to the patient readers of this blog.